I was checking my email on a Wednesday evening, I had received an email from Team FARA reminding me about Tour de Palm Springs on January 23, 2016. There were only 10 days until the event, but living in southern California a little over an hour drive from Palm Springs, I knew I could make it! So I tuned up my hand cycle, packed my gear, and began planning.
My girlfriend and I made the drive to Palm Springs around noon on Friday the 22. We arrived in Palm Springs just before sunset the evening prior to the ride. We checked into our hotel, which was walking distance to Downtown Palm Springs. We picked up our event packets at the registration booth, looked over the ride info, and familiarized ourselves with the route. Then we prepared to get a good night's sleep.
We chose the 10 mile course which started Saturday at 10 AM. At breakfast the next morning we were greeted by my parents and friends. Together we went over and prepped my bike, got me on and set me on my way, I rode the bike a few blocks to the starting line.
The crisp fresh air filled my lungs as I listened to the Spirit of the Sands marching band begin the national anthem. The atmosphere was exhilarating yet relaxed, laid-back, and fun. As the hundreds of riders filed past the start line we began the ride. We cruised along the streets of Downtown Palm Springs, through various neighborhoods, and rode past the Palm Springs International Airport. Traffic was sparse and controlled with the help of local law enforcement. The course itself was well planned and offered a unique perspective of the city.
Throughout the ride we saw many Team FARA riders, the camaraderie was unparalleled to any other. There were words of encouragement being exchanged between riders along with a friendly togetherness that reminded me of the reason we were all there, to cure FA. We arrived at the finish line around noon, and enjoyed a beer with family and friends!
We then walked to the FARA booth and met up with other riders, and got to see as Kyle Bryant finished the 50 mile course. When all riders were done, we took a group picture to celebrate the occasion under the Tour de Palm Springs sign.
In the early evening we met up with the other Team FARA riders at LULU’s a local restaurant in Downtown Palm Springs. We were treated to an incredible 3 course dinner, where we were able to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. Kyle Bryant and Joe Gotto also delivered some inspiring speeches, regarding recent advances in treatments, also congratulating top earning teams and individuals, along with reinforcing the difference we are all making towards a cure.
In conclusion Tour de Palm springs was an amazing event. In total raising just over $24,000.00 for finding a treatment and cure for Friedreich's Ataxia. It was such a memorable and rewarding event, we will definitely plan on riding the 25 mile course next year!
I would like to also thank everyone from FARA for all the planning and organization that went into planning such a great fundraiser for Team FARA.